Montevallo women’s basketball cruises to win over Cougars in conference opener


MONTEVALLO – The University of Montevallo women’s basketball team kept up its recent torrid scoring pace in a 77-65 win over visiting Columbus State University in its Peach Belt Conference opener Dec. 15 at BankTrust Arena.

The Falcons scored 49 points in the opening half, the most points scored in a half in second-year coach Cindy Hilbrich’s tenure, as they jumped out to a 25-point halftime lead. Montevallo (6-4 overall, 1-0 in Peach Belt Conference) shot 51 percent from the floor, including 54 percent from beyond the arc, in the opening half.

“I am so proud of the way our team played today,” Hilbrich said. “We just finished finals and they are all excited to go home. To be able to stay focused and get this conference win is fantastic.“

Seniors Zena Nasiloski and Trena Moore-Smith each posted a double-double in the victory.

Nasiloski led the Falcons with 17 points, on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor, while grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds. Moore-Smith finished with 12 points, on 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc and a 3-of-6 performance from the charity stripe, while dishing out a career-high 13 assists in the win.

Sophomore Taylor Beverly contributed 14 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field. Junior Alexsis Brown added nine points, while freshmen Jacquelyn Thompson and Katie Colson chipped in seven points each.

Senior Carolyn Taite finished with five points. Senior Alex Strickland and freshman Jasmine Thomas finished with two points each.

Columbus State led by as many as four points in the early stages of the first half before the Falcons dominated the final 15 minutes of the opening half.

Thompson capped a quick 9-0 run with a layup at the 10:58 mark in the first half, which gave Montevallo a 19-10 lead. A layup by Beverly just more than one minute later gave the Falcons their first double-digit lead in the half.

A pair of free throws by Taite with eight seconds left in the half gave Montevallo its largest lead in the half, 25 points, and sent the Falcons into the locker room at the break with a 49-24 lead.

Montevallo led by as many as 31 points in the game, following a pair of free throws by Thompson, which gave the Falcons a 63-34 lead with 12:15 remaining.

The Cougars closed the game with a 10-0 run, but it was too little and too late to mount a comeback.

Montevallo travels to Augusta, Ga. to face Augusta State University in its first road contest in Peach Belt Conference play Dec. 17. Tip off is set for 4:30 p.m. CST.